Academics must rise above beastly culture of sexual harassment

11 Jan, 2018 - 00:01 0 Views
Academics must rise above beastly culture of sexual harassment

The Chronicle

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Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu
Some of Zimbabwe’s print media have been very recently publishing news about some female university students being either forced, or seduced, intimidated or bribed into sexual immorality by some of their tutors.

There has been such a story concerning some female Ugandan Makerere University students who said that some of their lecturers demanded sex in exchange for high academic marks.

Such information makes very depressing reading to everyone enlightened enough to attribute some sanctity or even customary respect to human bodies, more so those of women.

It is not excusable for any university student or lecturer to be involved in either violent, commercial or criminal sexual activities in that they are supposed to belong to a culturally transformed social class whose moral and human values are entrenched by their educational exposure.

Universities are the world’s highest educational institutions where adults acquire and impact knowledge either orally or by reading or experimentation or by research, or by a combination of two or more of those methods.

Knowledge acquisition takes people’s minds to a world where their actions are based on rationale rather than on emotions, where experience rather than speculation guides their actions, where possible effects of causes enable people to restrain themselves and others from committing immoral or illegal acts.
The world’s educational systems are so tailored that they are, or are supposed to be, respectively suitable for infants, preteens, early teens, adolescents and adults.

Universities cater for adults who are solely responsible for their behaviour, by which is meant having complete authority over themselves, that is to say minds and bodies.

For their respective souls, they can only pray and follow their freely chosen religion’s preccepts, and leave them to a hoped for but unknown destiny.

University curricula are a wide collection of subjects among which may be the legal group comprising mercantile law, criminal law, civil law and so on.

Some universities offer psychology programmes, political science, public administration and ecclesiastical courses. All these literally develop the students’ minds to think properly, to identify the students’ life passions and to mould their individual characters.

It would be a failure for a university to produce a graduate or graduates whose mind or minds are so weak that they would succumb to threats, inducement, bribes or intimidation.

Zimbabwe’s education traces its roots to ancient Greece from where it was adopted by the Romans.

In Greece it was very deeply influenced by the thinking method of the philosopher, Socrates, who died in 339BC. He chose to die for his convictions than to disown them; so did Jesus Christ for his beliefs. Simply stated, those two great men stood and died for what they believed to be true or right.

It is not possible that any of the university tutors who demanded sex from some of the students, or that any of the students who succumbed to any of those demands believed that they were doing the right thing.

We can categorically state that both the students and the tutors acted against their consciences; the tutors, in addition, violated their professional ethics, that is to say those principles used or quoted by whomever, to judge the behaviour of university tutors as a professional community.

Students, of whatever institution owe it primarily to themselves to protect their bodies and honour against immoral tutors and other criminals who may offer them financial inducement to commit immoral sexual acts.

Tutors for their part are educated people who ought to know and appreciate the fact that having sex with anyone without their active consent and response is not better than having sex with a corpse.

It is because of this psychologically true and  known fact that it is also inherently inhuman to buy sex as is the case in prostitution because the sex-seller is not better than a common street fruit vendor, and the buyer is  a mere consumer; in case of prostitution, an immoral, lustful or libidinous individual.

In ancient times, some traditional leaders in some oriental states kept harems some of which had 1 000 or more women many of whose names were not known to the harem owner.

Intimate sexual relations between those women and the harem runner were not different from those between a cock a brood of hens, the only difference being that each of those women was led to the harem owner by a eunuch when it was her turn whereas the cock would have to run after the hen it wants to mount.

That comparison apart, any man who has sexual intercourse with a woman on any basis other than love is committing rape, the exception being commercial sex, of course in which case the relationship is created by finance and nothing more.

In cases where some form of force, psychological or physical,  is used by the man, and the woman accedes, that woman’s participation would be psychologically passive and not active, a situation in which no man with high self – esteem and a reasonable measure of self – pride would wish to be involved.

Female students can create a social environment in which they can study freely and be respected and honoured as tomorrow’s national mothers by reporting to the police or to their parents every case of sexual inducement by their teachers or lecturers; fear to report crimes encourages criminals to commit more crimes.

*Saul Gwakuba Ndlovu is a retired, Bulawayo-based journalist. He can be contacted on cell 0734 328 136 or through email. [email protected]

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